We know that many mamas either need or choose to pump for a variety of reasons. Pumping has benefits like being able to see how much milk your baby is getting, allowing partners or family members more opportunities to bond with the baby, and freedom to spend time away from your baby without needing to rush home to nurse them.
The advantages of pumping are great, but it also comes with a few disadvantages. Common complaints from pumping moms are that pumping is uncomfortable or painful, it takes a long time, and that they don’t see very much output. Often these problems can be remedied with a few simple solutions.
If you haven’t already, read the first part of this blog post 5 Tips To Get The Most Breast Milk While Pumping for even more tips on increasing your milk output.
1. Lubricate the inside of your flanges
Next time you pump, try putting a small amount of lubricant such as coconut or olive oil inside your flanges. This can make pumping more comfortable, and may even help increase your output.
Lubrication can decrease the amount of discomfort you feel which will help with let down and overall responsiveness to your breast pump.
2. Use warm compresses on your breasts
Moist heat is like magic for getting more milk from your breasts. It can really open up all of your milk ducts and encourage let down.
Heat up a damp hand towel in the microwave for a minute or so. Place it on your breasts a few minutes before pumping. If you’d like, you can also keep it on during your pumping session.
(WARNING: Do not use heat directly on or near your baby.)
3. Try a hands-free bra
A pumping bra is a must-have item for busy moms. It allows you to be hands-free while you pump and can help you stay relaxed. You’ll be able to get into a more comfortable position, and if you have a portable pump, you can even walk around.
Some pumping bras can be pricey but there are a lot of affordable options. If you don’t want to buy one, you can make your own by cutting holes into an old bra. Pinterest has lots of tutorials!
4. Have realistic expectations
It is often said that comparison is the thief of joy, and it’s certainly true when it comes to breastfeeding. Do yourself a favor and stop comparing your milk supply, output and freezer stash (or lack thereof) to the ones you see online!
Not everyone is going to be able to easily pump 10 ounces every session. That’s not typical and shouldn’t be the expectation you set for yourself. Be realistic and set goals that align with your body and baby.
5. Don’t forget to relax
Stress has the ability to decrease your let down reflex and lower your milk supply. The more stressed you are, the more stressed your boobies are gonna be!
Try to incorporate one simple way you can lower your stress levels each and every day. Maybe that is eating a few bites of your favorite snack, going for a walk, watching your latest guilty pleasure on Netflix, or taking a luxurious bath.
Most importantly, remember to breathe. I know that breastfeeding can be a difficult journey, but you are doing amazing mama! You are everything your baby needs and they are so lucky to have you.
Pumping can be discouraging and stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Try to make your comfort and relaxation a priority not only while you pump, but in your everyday life. Don’t compare yourself to others and set realistic goals for pumping.
Reach out for support in The Official Milky mama Lactation Support Group before you get frustrated and throw in the towel! We are here to offer advice and encouragement.